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Women in trades strategy underway, says forum

Canadian Apprenticeship Forum eyes 2020 for completion of National Strategy for Women in Trades
The Canadian Apprenticeship Forum said attracting more women to the trades will help alleviate a significant shortage of workers over the next five years. (File photo)

The Canadian Apprenticeship Forum (CAF) is developing a National Strategy for Women in Trades.

Following two years of consultations with stakeholders, the organization said a task force comprised of members from across the country would aim to have the strategy in place by 2020.

The strategy’s goal is to remove barriers women encounter pursuing in careers in which they are traditionally under-represented.

“Our country is going to need thousands of new trades professionals in the next five years, and the creation of a national strategy to help attract more women to the trades will be critical to meeting labour market and economic needs,” said Shelley Gray, CEO of B.C.’s Industry Training Authority and a task force participant, in an Aug. 28 news release.

“To do this, it’s important to develop workplaces that are welcoming, positive, and inclusive of everyone interested in pursuing an apprenticeship.”

Over the last two years, the CAF has held the Supporting Women in Trades Conference, and based on participant feedback, developed A Road Map to Supporting Women in the Trades.

It’s that input that will be used to guide the strategy.

The task force is comprised of apprentices, tradeswomen, representatives from women’s organizations, labour groups, employers, educators, and jurisdictional apprenticeship authorities.

“We already know what the barriers are. Insights from this task force, along with 20 years of CAF national research in the area, will provide a clear direction on how to create sustainable change,” said France Daviault, executive director of the CAF, in the release.

“The entire skilled trades community needs to work together and set targets for increasing female participation – what gets measured gets done.”

The CAF task force first meets on Sept. 9. The final strategy will be presented at the National Apprenticeship Conference in Calgary, AB on May 24-26, 2020.

The CAF is a national non-profit organization that brings together apprenticeship stakeholders from across trades, across sectors and across Canada to share information and promising practices, identify challenges, and propose joint solutions.